EVERY year, many people make a resolution to exercise more or follow a more balanced eating plan. Unfortunately, with each passing month, most lose the motivation to follow through and start to revert back to unhealthy habits.
With the arrival of warmer weather, now is the perfect time to reassess and revive your healthy eating resolutions â€“ itâ€™s simpler than you think. Small changes to your diet can lead to big improvements in your overall health.
One easy goal is to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. The recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 continues to reinforce the importance of consuming produce, recommending that you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
California Avocados: An Easy Solution to Add Flavor and Boost Nutrient Intake
Regularly enjoying delicious California avocados is one simple way to help meet the recommended daily fruit servings and boost nutrient intake. Avocados also provide a number of other nutritional benefits that can help you achieve your healthy eating resolutions, including:
- â€¢ Avocados are nutrient dense. One-fifth of a medium California avocado (1 ounce), a nutrient-dense fruit, has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to the diet, in addition to being naturally sugar-free and sodium-free. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 emphasizes choosing nutrient-dense foods from each food group as the best approach to meeting nutrient needs within calorie recommendations.
- â€¢ Avocados provide two nutrients that are likely lacking from your diet. One-fifth of a medium California avocado (1 ounce) provides 8 percent of the Daily Value for fiber and 4 percent of the Daily Value for potassium. Dietary fiber and potassium are generally underconsumed by Americans and are identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 as nutrients of which people should increase consumption. Both are important to a dietâ€”dietary potassium can help lower blood pressure by blunting the adverse effects of sodium, and dietary fiber that occurs naturally in foods may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as help provide a feeling of fullness.
- â€¢ Avocados can help you improve your â€œgood fatâ€ intake. Seventy-five percent of the fat in a California avocado is unsaturated fat (3.5 grams per 1-ounce serving), making it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat. Replacing some saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids has been shown to lower both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
California avocados can be easily incorporated into a number of recipes that promote the consumption of other foods recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Hereâ€™s a delicious recipe to try:
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with California Avocado
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
3 tablepoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Â¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh dill
Â½ lb. orecchiette or small pasta, cooked, drained
1 ripe, fresh California avocado*, peeled, seeded and cut into Â½-inch cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
Â¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
Â½ medium hot house cucumber, cut lengthwise
in quarters and sliced
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut in half
Opt for a whole grain pasta to boost fiber intake.
1. Place olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a food processor or blender; blend until creamy. Add dill and pulse just until incorporated. Pour over pasta and toss to coat.
2. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 300; Total Fat 19 g (Sat 2.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2 g, Mono 13 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 270 mg; Potassium 540 mg; Total Carbohydrates 30 g; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Protein 7 g.
- â€¢ Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
For more avocado nutrition information and delicious California avocado recipes, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com. (NAPSI) â–